DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Tanzania’s largest commercial city – one of the fastest-growing in Africa – has redrawn its master plan to try to become a megacity prepared for climate change, and not a city of worsening urban sprawl and flooding.
The plan, which looks ahead to 2036, aims to transform the city of over 4.5 million people and proposes creation of a Metropolitan Development Authority to oversee planning and major infrastructure development, including transportation and utilities.
It calls for measures to mainstream climate-change adaptation into existing urban development policies, for instance constructing better storm-water drainage systems for a city increasingly hard hit by flooding, and relocating residents from areas with high flood risk.
The authority would have powers to veto planning decisions by lower municipal councils that are inconsistent with land-use policies for the city.
Meck Sadick, Dar es Salaam regional commissioner, told Thomson Reuters Foundation that the government wants to see Dar es Salaam grow into a megacity with ultra-modern institutions, industries and facilities to attract investment and accommodate an ever-increasing population.
The success of the plan, however, depends on enforcing regulations and ending continued construction of buildings in flood-prone and other prohibited areas, Sadick said.
Fast-growing Dar es Salaam generates over 40 percent of Tanzania’s GDP, but is exposed to a range of risks from climate change, including flooding, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, water scarcity and insect-borne diseases.
According to a government study in 2011, Dar es Salaam is poised to become a megacity with over 10 million people by 2040. Even today, about 140,000 people live in flood-vulnerable areas, with 31,000 people considered at high risk.
As the number of people living in slums with poor access to water and sanitation continue to rise, Dar es Salaam epitomizes the growing challenges of dealing with urbanization, poverty and natural disasters, according to experts at ICLEI, a network of more than a thousand cities working on sustainable development and resilience issues.
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